The Iowa Hawkeyes are officially headed in the right direction. Or at least they have been the last two weeks. After three straight losses in the month of October, Hawkeye fans found themselves wondering where this season was headed. But fast forward two weeks and Iowa is right back into the thick of things thanks to a pair of wins over Northwestern and Purdue where the offense looked competent or better for long stretches.
Now they’ll face another major challenge as the Wisconsin Badgers come into Kinnick Stadium. The Badgers are 4-1 in their last five trips to Kinnick and offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz hasn’t seemed to develop any answers for the Wisconsin 3-man front outside the successful COVID year in 2020.
This, however, is not a COVID year and as wild as things have been, we find ourselves once again staring at a showdown with the gatekeepers in the West with a chance at the division title on the line. A loss today and Iowa or Wisconsin would effectively be eliminated from West contention. But the winner inches ahead in what is currently a 4-way tie for second place behind Illinois.
For their part, the Illini face off with Purdue this morning and could shore up their chances with a win, which would give them the head-to-head tiebreaker over every second place team. But a loss would really open the door with a trip to Ann Arbor looming next weekend.
So, just like virtually every other year for the last half-decade or so, the Badgers and Hawkeyes will square off with big time implications for the divisional battle. And just like in recent years, the two teams will stare across the turf at a virtual mirror image of themselves and play and old school, smash mouth football game.
Over the last 21 meetings, the team to win the rushing battle has won the game 19 times. After the performance of Kaleb Johnson a week ago, that might bode well for the Hawkeyes. But we’ve seen this offensive line struggle for much of the season and Ferentz has had myriad issues getting his lines to block well against this odd Wisconsin front.
Perhaps more importantly, the Iowa defense will have their work cut out for them. The Badgers come into the game averaging more than 183 yards per game on the ground, led by superstar Braelon Allen who is averaging nearly 110 yards per game by himself with six games over the century mark this season.
As we prepare for kickoff, here’s a reminder of the details for today’s matchup:
Date: Saturday, November 12th
Time: 2:30 pm CT
Matchup: Wisconsin Badgers (5-4, 3-3) at Iowa Hawkeyes (5-4, 3-3)
Location: Kinnick Stadium - Iowa City, IA
Updated Weather Forecast: cloudy with temps in the low-30s, 5% chance of rain with 15mph winds
DraftKings Sportsbook Line: Iowa -1, O/U 35.5
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
If you’re looking for a refresher on the details of today’s game, be sure to check out our coverage from throughout the week, starting with the Game Center.
If you’re on the go and would rather listen to Hawkeye talk, be sure to check out the BHGP podcast feed. There are three new episodes up this week already with more to come today. You can find those wherever you get your podcasts, or by clicking below.
**NEW this year: we’ll also be hosting Twitter Spaces before and after the game. Be sure to tune in to @BHGP to get live, up to date news and analysis on things like injuries, warmup reports and more starting at 8am CT. We’ll hop back on live after the final gun to do the victory polka or wallow in our sorrows with you all.**